Friday, December 27, 2013

Smoked Salmon & Asparagus Pasta

For a different spin on a family favorite recipe a little while ago, I swapped out the Presunto for some smoked salmon.  I also swapped out the pecans/walnuts for pine nuts, and added some smoked paprika to carry on the smoky theme.  It was very good and enjoyed by most members of the fam, even my picky two-year old.  My seven year old loved it too, and loved the smoked salmon the best.  Of course, all the kids pick out the asparagus and gave it to the adults.
Want to use up the rest of your mascarpone cheese?  Try this Cheesy Baked Tortellini or Pumpkin Kiss Cookies.

Smoked Salmon & Asparagus Pasta
adapted from this recipe

1/2lb bowtie pasta (I used mini-bowties)
1/2 cup pasta water, reserved
2-3T unsalted butter
1 large fresh garlic clove, minced
1/2lb asparagus, cut into 1” pieces
1/3- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (half of a normal-sized tub)
6-8 ounces smoked salmon, coarsley chopped
salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4-1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted (optional; but does improve flavor- toast in small dry skillet for few min.)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, shredded

1) In a large pot, cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente (about 10 minutes). Drain, reserving 1/2c pasta water.

2) Saute garlic, for 1 minute, in melted butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add asparagus and sauté over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes, until asparagus is crisp-tender. Do not overcook.

3) Reduce heat to medium and add pasta and mascarpone; toss until cheese melts and coats pasta; slowly add reserved pasta water, as needed, to moisten (I used just a few tablespoons).  Add smoked salmon and smoked paprika; cook on low just until heated through.

4) Remove from heat and add pine nuts. Toss with parmigiano reggiano cheese and fresh basil. Season with salt & pepper (you may not need any additional salt). Serve immediately.
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